New Activity for the New Year: Snowboarding
Have you ever considered snowboarding as a way to stay active in the winter? If so, then you definitely want to check out this post written by Aanika who blogs at The Active Mum.
I have been snowboarding since 1998. I fell in love with it the first time I tried it. The freedom of being in the mountains, the fresh air, nature. Although I lived 6 hours from the closest ski area, I made sure I took every opportunity to get there as much as possible – even if that meant sometimes doing a 12 hour round-trip of driving by myself on a weekend to get there. Since those early years I have spent a number of ski seasons living and working at various different resorts in both the southern and northern hemispheres. I have competed in a few competitions, and some photos of me snowboarding where featured in a few advertising campaigns. Snowboarding is such a huge part of my life, even now that I’m settled down with a family and young children (and once again living 6 hours from the nearest snow), it is never too far from my mind. There is just something about the snow culture. Everyone up in the mountains together with one thing in common – your love of the sport. Skiiers and snowboarders alike. Bonds are quickly made and life-long friendships quickly develop.
The culture is awesome, but for me it goes even further than this. Being in the snow and the mountains and always being surrounded by their beauty – makes me constantly in awe of God’s awesome creation. I never feel more alive, or more at peace.
I would definitely recommend to anyone to get out onto the snow and give snowboarding a go. However, there are a few little things that can make the world of difference to your experience:
1. Snowboarding is not for the faint-hearted, but it is more than worth the effort.
It is definitely not one of the easiest sports to learn. Unless you have a background in skating, wakeboarding or surfing, it can be a little bit difficult to get started. I would recommend taking lessons from a professional (not your good friend that assures you they can show you how). There is a lot of tricks and tips that only a professional instructor will be able to give you, and it will save you some unnecessary bumps and bruises.
Once you get moving you will quickly see that it was worth the effort. Continue on with the lessons though, as professional instructors will get you riding with the correct style and technique. You will not only look better, but your riding will feel better and you will have more control over that board that is strapped to your feet.
2. Take note of the snow conditions
Learning to snowboard on icy snow is terrible. Its rock hard – you will fall alot and your tailbone will hate you. If you notice the snow is extremely icy, do your body a huge favour and wait for the snow to soften – take an early afternoon lesson instead. Different conditions require slight tweaks to your technique – once again, an instructor will show you all that you need to know in a very short period of time. Remember the old saying – a stitch in time saves nine? This is very true here. Spend the time and money on a lesson with a professional and then enjoy the rest of your holiday, and your snowboarding experience a lot more.
3. The right equipment will make a huge difference.
A lot of people trying snowboarding for the first time will be using rental equipment. Make sure that you hire from a reputable store. Don’t trust your friend’s judgement (or equipment). Get fitted properly. The right size board will make a huge difference. But more importantly, invest in good quality boots. If your rental shop offers different quality boots, spend your money on the best boots they have to offer. Comfortable boots that fit properly will make a world of difference. No-one enjoys spending a day in the snow with sore, numb and icy-cold feet. Also make sure your outerwear is good quality (if it isn’t waterproof you are going to get cold and wet). And finally, please ditch the sunglasses and wear some good quality goggles. If you can’t see, you can’t snowboard. This is especially true for days that the light is very ‘flat’. Having the right goggles with the right lens will allow you to see the definition in the snow and avoid any bumps or lumps that might interfere with your ride.
4. Become aware of correct mountain conduct.
Most ski resort advertise their policy on correct conduct everywhere – bathrooms, signs on the runs, etc etc. Pay attention. Keep yourself and others safe by following the rules. Stay in control, stick to resort boundaries, be careful of others (and other’s equipment) in lift lines, and always be aware of other people when riding. There is an age-old feud between skiiers and snowboarders because a lot of skiiers like to carve out nice wide turns when making their way down the hill, and snowboarders (generally) tend to take a more narrow route which has occasionally meant a few close calls for people not paying attention. But really, resorts are big enough that no-one should be skiing or snowboarding on top of anyone else. If we all are careful and courteous of one another, everyone wins.
5. Wear protective equipment
The most common snowboarding injury that I have seen over the years, is the broken wrist. Wrist guards are readily available at most hire shops (or your nearest sports store). If you shop around you can even find ones that fit underneath (or blend into) your gloves so no-one will even no your wearing them! If your thinking about riding anywhere near trees, or in powder with possible hidden obstacles (trees, tree stumps or rocks) then I would definitely recommend wearing a helmet.
6. Know your limits
Ski resorts build terrain parks for more experienced riders. Know your limits. Once again, if you feel like your at a level where you are ready to ride in a terrain park – take a lesson and get an instructor to show you the correct technique.
As i said earlier, snowboarding might not be for the faint-hearted. It is definitely a challenge to begin with, but it is hugely rewarding. Keep the above tips in mind and your holiday and snowboarding experience will hopefully be a very enjoyable one. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. Are you up for the challenge?
If you have enjoyed this post then head over to read more posts from me over at www.theactivemum.com where I blog about fitness, health and fitness for mums, parenting and life in general.
Thanks for reading,